Astrebla is a small genus of xerophytic (adapted to survive in an environment with little liquid water) grasses found only in Australia.[2] They are the dominant grass across much of the continent.[3] They are commonly known as Mitchell grass after Scottish explorer, Thomas Mitchell (1792 – 1855), who first collected a specimen near Bourke in New South Wales.

Mitchell grass
Astrebla pectinata.jpg
Astrebla pectinata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Tribe: Cynodonteae
Subtribe: Eleusininae
Genus: Astrebla
Type species
Astrebla pectinata

Mitchell grasses grow on clay soils, mainly between an upper limit of 600 mm average annual rainfall, and a lower limit of 200 mm, and even below in depressions where the water concentrates following rains e.g. in Sturt's Stony Desert. Mitchell grasses are deep rooted and become dormant during drought, allowing them to survive extended periods without rainfall.[4][5]

They are commonly found in arid regions of northern Australia, clumped together and reaching one metre high, providing habitat for organisms such as mammals.[6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mueller, Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von 1878. Flora australiensis:a description of the plants of the Australian territory /by George Bentham, assisted by Ferdinand Mueller. 7: 602-603 in English
  2. ^ Watson, L. and M. J. Dallwitz. (2008). "Astrebla". The Grass Genera of the World. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  3. ^ Atlas of Living Australia, Astrebla F.Muell. ex Benth., Mitchell Grass
  4. ^ FutureBeef Program for Northern Australia
  5. ^ "Tropical Forages". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  6. ^ Andrew, David (2015). "Appendix D [glassary]". Complete Guide to Finding the Mammals of Australia. Clayton South, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. p. 399. ISBN 9780643098145.
  7. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  8. ^ The Plant List search for Astrebla